News & Media

Faith Leaders to President Trump: Profiling Muslims and Persons Fleeing Violence is Abhorrent

PICO National Network

January 30, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          CONTACT: Jennifer Farmer, 202.306.0136

January 30, 2017                                Email: jfarmer@piconetwork.org


Faith Leaders to President Trump: Profiling Muslims and Persons Fleeing Violence is Abhorrent

Faith Communities Remind Administration That America Should Value Inclusion, Religious Freedom and Humanitarianism 

WASHINGTON—PICO National Network, the largest network of congregations and faith-based groups in the country, today rebuked President Trump’s executive order banning people from 7 Muslims-majority countries from entering the United States. The multi-faith, multiracial network vowed to not only stand in solidarity with all persons impacted by the discriminatory order, but to resist immoral policies.

“As people of faith, we stand for inclusion, religious freedom and humanitarianism,” said Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, director of clergy organizing for PICO National Network. “It goes without saying that we sympathize with the cause of religious minorities, and persons fleeing violence and persecution. Preventing Muslims and Syrian refugees from migrating to the United States is abhorrent.”    

The executive order targeting Muslims was foreshadowed on the campaign trail when President Trump and his surrogates regularly discharged hateful Islamophobia. They made it clear that this administration would prevent Muslims from entering the country and increase profiling of religious minorities. It would be cause enough for concern if this approach originated solely from President Trump, but his inner circle includes people such as chief strategist Steve Bannon and attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, who will have a vote on his confirmation on January 31, who have gone on the record disparaging Islam.

“We know all too well the dangers of singling out one faith community,” said Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We refuse to allow our promise of ‘never again’ to ring hollow. If they come for one of us, they must come for us all.”

“As we work for love and justice in our local communities and around this nation, Muslims are a critical part of the effort,” said Rev. Troy Jackson, executive director of the AMOS Project. “This action by President Trump and his administration is an attempt to diminish and dehumanize a certain group of people. It exacerbates an environment of suspicion and fear rather than one of hope, faith and love. We can and must do better.”

“Donald Trump's intrusive style of governance poses a substantial threat to the collective progress we have made towards inclusiveness and pluralism,” said Imam Jihad Saafir, founder and executive director ISLAH LAin Los Angeles, California. “His bombastic egoistic rants, unwillingness to engage with those who disagree with him, and deliberate alienation of already marginalized communities--raises red flags for many people in the predominately Black American Muslim community that I am a member of. To this end, undoing the work of those who fought and died for a more inclusive America is not an option that many Americans, including myself, are willing to accept.” 

The harmful rhetoric exhibited on the 2016 campaign trail has had dire consequences. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a grassroots civil liberties and advocacy organization, notes an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the Nov. 8 election. CAIR’s 2016 report on Islamophobia in America will show 2016 was one of the worst years in which mosques were targets of bias.

“The announcement to ban Muslim migration to the United States is a continuation of President Trump’s assault on families,” said Eddie Carmona, campaign manager of LA RED, a PICO National Network immigrant justice initiative. “We know that once one group of people is targeted based on their race, religion, immigration status, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity, everyone is at risk. President Trump may be targeting Muslims families today, but tomorrow it could be your family. We have a moral obligation to resist any policy that has a discriminatory impact on individuals and families." 

For more information on the work PICO National Network federations are doing to support impacted communities during Donald Trump’s presidency, including providing sanctuary or safe havens, please contact Jennifer Farmer at 202.306.0136 or jfarmer@piconetwork.org.



PICO National Network, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States, includes 1,000 religious congregations in more than 150 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations.